Our city has set an ambitious goal of diverting 80% of garbage from landfills, and recycling at apartments is a big piece of the pie. This week, we met with city officials and the consultants hired to help draft a roadmap to 80%. The multifamily setting poses a number of challenges to recycling collection. Ultimately, recycling programs will need to be flexible to accommodate the variety of apartment communities, from small, older complexes to new mid-rise buildings. We have instituted recycling programs at three apartment communities we manage in Fayetteville, and we’ve approached recycling collection differently at each property.
When we renovated ECO Modern Flats, we knew that recycling was imperative. At that time, the city was unable to offer recycling to apartments at that scale. Our solution was to design our own recycling stations. Each flat has a slide-out recycling sorter built in to a kitchen cabinet. Neighbors who live at ECO deposit materials into our two recycling stations, and Tim, the groundskeeper at ECO, delivers materials to the city’s recycling facility regularly. Over time, we have expanded the stations to include more room for over-sized containers like milk jugs. Between January 2012 and June 2013, we collected 12,900 pounds of glass, paper, aluminum, cardboard, and plastic—that’s almost six and a half tons of waste!
More recently, our other two communities, North Creekside Apartments and Willow Park Apartments, have joined the city’s pilot multifamily recycling project. Each community has a “battleship,” a long container accepting #1 and #2 plastics, paper, cardboard, steel, and aluminum. Each apartment has been issued a “little green bin,” a six-gallon plastic container that fits comfortably under the sink. The sturdy green bins will stay with each apartment as residents come and go, just as city-issued trash and recycling bins stay with single-family homes. Neighbors in the communities we manage love the recycling program, and the addition of the little green bins seems to have spurred even greater participation.
We are excited to see recycling advance in our community. If you would like to be part of the process, please take the city’s survey at RecycleSomething.org.